Friday, April 03, 2009

No National Founders Conference in 2009

The National Founders Conference will not not meet this summer. Though we will miss the fellowship, instruction and encouragement that the conference has generated over the last 26 years, there are good reasons behind this decision. Let me list several of them:

1. There are now many excellent conferences based on the doctrines of grace that are regularly held throughout the United States. Last year we counted over 50 such gatherings. That was not the case over a quarter of a century ago when the Founders Conference first began. The revival of the doctrines of grace has spawned this new era in which it is relatively easy to find a good conference to attend nearly any time of the year. We are grateful to see this development and encourage Founders supporters to consider attending one of the many Christ-exalting gatherings that will be held this year.

2. As announced at last year's conference we are in the process of working on a church planting initiative that will involve future networking and gatherings of like-minded church leaders and planters. Taking a break from the national conference this summer allows us to keep moving forward with this and adequately to prepare for such efforts. I am very excited about what God is doing in this regard and believe that it has the potential to further the advance of the gospel in significant ways.

3. Our regional conferences continue to meet annually and are doing a great job. Currently we have 4 conferences that are meeting: Arklatex (Shreveport), Southwest (Ft. Worth), Deep South (Jackson) and Midwest (St. Louis). These are excellent conferences that collectively serve several hundred people each year. Additionally, we continue to host an annual Founders Breakfast at the Southern Baptist Convention. This year's speaker will be Dr. Danny Akin. The breakfast will be on June 23, 2009 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Coronet Ballroom A/B in Louisville, KY at 6:30 AM. (watch for further details and tickets to go on sale soon).

4. Though Founders has hosted dozens of conferences over the years and has seen the Lord use them to accomplish great things, we are not in the "conference business." We are in the "reformation business." Our goal has always been to see biblical reformation take root in churches throughout our nation and into the nations of the world. We have articulated this by declaring that we are committed to the recovery of the gospel and the reformation of local churches. We want to see the simple gospel of Jesus regain its place of preeminence not only in the work of evangelism but also in work Christian living and church growth.

5. We may periodically host future national conferences as the need and opportunity arises. We also may partner with other groups to sponsor gatherings and share resources that will further the advance of the gospel in our day.

Through the efforts of Ben Cripps, 16 years' worth of the past Founders Conference messages are available online. These, together with the wealth of material available on our website (maintained by Stan Reeves) will continue to provide loads of resources that are readily available to anyone who cares to access them.

It is encouraging to see what the Lord is doing in our day. Founders Ministries remains committed to to pray and work for ongoing reformation and revival. We are deeply grateful for the partnership, encouragement, support and prayers of those who share our vision to see vital Christianity returned to our churches that will result in renewed devotion to spread the gospel throughout the nations.

These are exciting days for all who love the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is doing a work of restoration among us. From what can be observed, this is obvious. But it I am convinced that there is far more taking place than can be observed. So let's keep pressing on as we look forward to even greater displays of His glory being manifested among us.

6 comments:

DoGLover said...

Tom, I'd love to hear more about the church planting initiative.
Thanks.

By grace,
Chris

James Hunt said...

Tom, I too would love to hear more about the church planting initiative.

James

Tom said...

Chris and James:

We will be making more information available in the next few months. What we hope to see accomplished is facilitating efforts by like-minded churches to engage more systematically in the work of church planting. Please join us in praying that the Lord will continue to guide us as this initiative takes shape.

Danny said...

But we're Calvinists...we don't plant churches or evangelize??

Tom said...

In the churches we plant we must focus on Making Disciples, not merely converts. I just read the AP post about the SBC decline in membership, contributions, baptisms and attendance. Not one single word, not one syllable about Making disciples. My prayer and our minnistry (IgniteUS.net) is focused on encouraging and equipping pastors and churches in this glorious privilege (Col, 1:28).

Andrew said...

Tom, May God use us to be found faithful in makine disciples for His kingdom. "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me." (Colossians 1:28-29; ESV)